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Hamilton Herald January 1940
Veteran Texas Temperance Worker Dies
Mrs. Helen Stoddard Was Early President of WCTU in State

Mrs. Helen M. Stoddard, 90, veteran temperance worker in the nation and an early president of the Texas Woman's Christian Temperance Union, died early Wednesday at a local hospital following a long illness.

More than fifty years ago she became widely known as an active worker for national temperance and was elected president of the W.C.T.U. of Texas in 1891, a position she held continuously until 1907 when failing health forced her to retire and move to Southern California, where she lived until she returned to Texas only a short time ago.  Her son, Robert M. Stoddard, died in Ramona, Calif., several years ago, and her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Stella B. Stoddard returned to Texas, locating at Brownwood where Mrs. Stoddard made her home.

California Burial Set.

Mrs. Stoddard became seriously ill during Christmas week and was brought to Dallas for treatment.  Her body will be sent to San Diego, Calif., for burial beside her son.

Mrs. Stoddard was born in Sheboygan Falls Township, Wis., on July 27, 1850. She attended Ripon College in Wisconsin, Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in New York, where at the age of 20 she was valedictorian of her graduating class. Five years later she married R. D. Stoddard, a classmate, who died in 1880.  With her small son, Mrs. Stoddard came to Texas a short time after her husband's death and lived for a time on her father's ranch near Indian Gap, Hamilton County.  Later she taught in Comanche College and in Forth Worth University, resigning from the later position to accept the presidency of the W.C.T.U. of Texas.

Led Social Reform Drives.

During her early years in Texas, Mrs. Stoddard was active in various social reforms which she helped to obtain through passage by the Legislature.  It was largely through her efforts that the so-called scientific temperance instruction law for teaching in schools the effect of alcohol was passed and she also aided in obtaining passage of a law raising the age of protection for girls in Texas.  In 1899 she led the movement for the adoption of the so-called anti-tobacco law for youths in Texas.

Mrs. Stoddard aided in obtaining location of the College of Industrial Arts, now Texas State College for Women, at Denton.  She was a member of the commission chosen to locate the new school and served for several years on the Board of Regents.

(Mrs. Stoddard was Sarah Collett Misener's Sunday School teacher at Indian Gap from 1880 until 1886, Indian Gap postmistress and taught two terms in Indian Gap's first real school house.)

Shared by Janet Berleen

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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

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